Can I be a Christian and still worship my ancestors?


"It is our way of life and tradition", I have heard some say to justify their belief in Jesus Christ mixed together with ancestral worship.

Culture plays an important part in all our lives but the question to ask yourself is: where do you place your hope and trust?

When hard times come and you are desperate for help or answers, who do you turn to? When life is going well, who do you thank for that?

At the end of the day there is only one God who rules over our lives. The question is, do you believe it is yourself, your ancestors or the God of the Bible?

The God of the Bible says that He desires all of our worship and commands us not to have any other gods before Him (see the 10 Commandments listed in the book of Exodus chapter 20).

Gods may take the form of ancestors or other spiritual beings but could also include things like cigarettes, alcohol, money, television or anything else that consumes most of your thoughts and becomes an 'idol' in our lives.

When Jesus was tempted in the desert this is what He said: "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" (Matthew 4:10)

God is jealous for our attention and devotion because he created us to be in relationship with Him.

In the Bible it clearly explains that anyone or anything else should not take the place of God in our lives. The dead have nothing to do with the living.

On multiple occasions God explains this to the people of Israel (which extends to Christians today):

"Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." (see Leviticus 19:31)

"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God" (see Deuteronomy 18:10-15).

"When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God's instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn" (see Isaiah 8:19-20).

These Bible verses clearly explain how God views sangomas, witchdoctors and worship of ancestors. These things do not please Him.

While there is a common belief that ancestors who have passed away can intervene in situations, the Bible explains that there is only one person who can do this and that is Jesus Christ, who not only died for us but also rose again from the dead. Because He lives, He can intervene.

In the Bible's book of 1 Timothy chapter 2 verses 5 and 6 it says, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people (on the cross)."

Rather than turning to ancestors, turn to Jesus who gave up His life for you and proved that He was God when He rose from the dead.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father God except through me" (see John 14:6). This means that he is not one of the ways but the only way to a right relationship with God.

Jesus is the one who can be trusted and He is the only one through whom we can find salvation and eternal life.

If you have been worshipping other gods, perhaps listen to what Joshua had to say to the people of Israel many years ago: "If serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of your ancestors ... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" (see Joshua 24 verse 15)

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